Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Wrote A Book

Back in June, I set a goal for myself: by mid-September I wanted to have a complete manuscript of the book. At that point I had 300 pages of material, I had a beginning, and parts of a middle, but the work had large gaps and no ending—it was not a book. I created an ambitious work schedule for the summer and adhered pretty closely to it, and after giving myself an extension to October 1st, am amazed to say I achieved my goal—I wrote a book.

Getting there was intense. Almost every day I spent hours, barely conscious of the real world, living in the fictional one I was creating. It became easy to get into the fictional world, but harder to get out, some part of me staying there, reluctant to leave until it was finished. While writing I was hardly aware of my actual surroundings and for hours after each session I still felt only partly present in the here and now. The process felt similar to a migraine episode, just thankfully without pain.

The work reached a fever pitch in September, when I realized how much was left to do to meet my goal. I worked harder, longer, flying through the many tasks on my to-do lists for each section of the novel, slogging through chapter after chapter, version after version. On September 25 disaster struck when I spilled coffee on my laptop and the “genius” at the Apple Store told me it was almost certainly dead. Per his instructions I waited 72 hours, and prayed a lot before trying to turn it back on, very grateful that I had backed up all my important work on the book. And when it miraculously turned back on, undamaged, after many prayers of thanks, I got right back to writing and editing.

By September 30 I was not satisfied with everything in the book—I don’t know that I ever will be—but I had a beginning, middle, and end, without major gaps. I had a piece of work, a book, of which I feel very proud.

I. Wrote. A. Book.

Yes, there is still editing to do. But for the first time, I feel like if I were to die today, someone else could finish the book and it would remain mine. It has an essence of its own, is no longer just living within me. I have given birth to it.

Which leaves me…tired, depleted, proud, empty. Not empty in a bad way, but as if this thing that has occupied most of my mental and psychic energy has let go of me, moved on, leaving room for something else. And now that it’s let go of me, I have a sense that I will be able to let go of it. This journey has been incredible, but it’s nearing the end, and though I don’t know what comes next, I’m almost ready to find out.


Kooky Carl said...

And what a fantastic book at that! My favorite things that I like about your book are:
1. The cultural clash the main character faces in Mexico.
2. The relationship / love between the two main characters.
3. The two worlds the main character must navigate through.
4. The passionate love scenes - hot stuff!
5. The authentic voice of the main character and many side characters.
6. The complexity of the relationships - nothing is easy, lots to consider= just like real life.

I've only read half of the book, but I find it hard to put down. It really starts my day off on a desperate note - as I read on the train and almost miss my stop daily. I then feel angry that I have to put the book away and do something else. Soon I'll finish - and then you'll get your first review.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to buy it - Congratulations!!


Sheila said...

Congrats Julie!!! I am so happy for you and so proud. Can't wait to read it

Tom Durso said...

Best news I've read in WEEKS! Congratulations, Julie! Now go get an agent and publish the thing already!

MaryKathryn said...

I want to buy the first or second copy.
I'm proud of you. I hope you let me read it soon.
love, MomA

Julie Reid said...

So proud of you! Can't wait to buy the book!!

CGE Mexico said...

Congratulations, Julie! I can't wait to read it! When is the Spanish translation coming out? This is such a major accomplishment! It's time to come back to Mexico to celebrate!
Ann and the rest of the staff of the Center for Global Education in Cuernavaca, Mexico

sulu-design said...

Wow! I am so, so happy for you and proud of you. What a huge accomplishment. Can we play host in Portland when you go on your book tour?

Ted said...

So ecxited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can't wait to read it...........

kara said...

CONGRATULATIONS! What an accomplishment! I very much look forward to curling up with your masterpiece. I am very proud of you!!!!!!!

Dave Owsik, Jr. said...

I'm proud of you Julie. now i know why we havent talked in a while. not like i have had hours of free time lately!
Love You,
Dave(big bro)

Anonymous said...


Jenn Hubbard

marian wade said...

I'm so glad you sent the blog! At least now you can go on the cruise and really relax. Your posts have shown me some of you I never knew- it has taken so long for me to know you better. Can't wait to read the book ! Hope it comes out soon. I'm jealous of Carl- he is able to read it before it gets published. You have a wonderful way of writing- I can actually hear you when you write. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

So proud of you!!!

Michelle said...

awesome, julie! so happy for you :) look forward to reading it!

Anonymous said...

Well done! Tell me when I can purchase it or dowload it to my little ibook thing I asked Santa for Xmas. Wow! what an accomplsihment - knew you could and would do it. Tell your hubbie to give a big hug to you from me. Miss you guys!